France maintain grip on Group D after coming from behind to draw in Ukraine

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France’s underwhelming sequence of results continued on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw in their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

The stalemate in Kiev - their fifth successive draw since beating Germany at the European championships in July - left Didier Deschamps’ team top of Group D with nine points after five of the eight qualifying matches.

Ukraine, who have five points, dropped to third following Finland’s 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan.

France squandered a wonderful chance to take the lead at the Olympic Stadium on the stroke of half-time.

Chance

Neat interplay between Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba set Anthony Martial free.

But the Manchester United striker’s attempt to slide the ball under the on-rushing goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov failed. The hosts not only survived the scare but prospered.

Pyatov fed the ball out to his right and it was moved down to Roman Yaremchuk who outpaced Presnel Kimpembe to swing in a cross.

Kurt Zouma managed to avert the initial danger but the ball fell to Mykola Shaparenko who swept it into the top left hand corner of Hugo Lloris’s net for his first international goal on his 19th appearance.

Reward

Martial atoned for his earlier imprecision just after the pause. He rammed the ball past Pyatov after Adrien Rabiot had headed down Kingsley Coman's centre.

Moussa Diaby had France's best chance to claim the three points but the 22-year-old's shot hit the post.

On Tuesday in Lyon, France take on second-placed Finland who beat Kazakhstan 1-0 to boast five points after three games.

"It was a difficult game," Martial told M6. "We managed to come back and not lose. I haven't scored for a long time for the national team so from a personal point of view it was good to get a goal."

Deschamps added: "We could have opened the score but didn't and then they immediately went down the other end and scored ... that kind of thing happens.

"Of course our aim was to win but we didn't. However we didn't lose and have one more point."

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